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Word Pictures in the New Testament
(1 Thessalonians: Chapter 1)

1:1 {Paul, and Silvanus, and Timothy} (\Paulos kai Silouanos kai
. Nominative absolute as customary in letters. Paul
associates with himself Silvanus (Silas of Acts, spelled
\Silbanos\ in D and the papyri)
, a Jew and Roman citizen, and
Timothy, son of Jewish mother and Greek father, one of Paul's
converts at Lystra on the first tour. They had both been with
Paul at Thessalonica, though Timothy is not mentioned by Luke in
Acts in Macedonia till Beroea (Ac 17:14f.). Timothy had joined
Paul in Athens (1Th 3:1f.), had been sent back to Thessalonica,
and with Silas had rejoined Paul in Corinth (1Th 3:5; Ac 18:5,
2Co 1:19)
. Silas is the elder and is mentioned first, but
neither is in any sense the author of the Epistle any more than
Sosthenes is co-author of I Corinthians or Timothy of II
Corinthians, though Paul may sometimes have them in mind when he
uses "we" in the Epistle. Paul does not here call himself
"apostle" as in the later Epistles, perhaps because his position
has not been so vigorously attacked as it was later. Ellicott
sees in the absence of the word here a mark of the affectionate
relations existing between Paul and the Thessalonians. {Unto the
church of the Thessalonians}
(\tēi ekklēsiāi Thessalonikeōn\).
The dative case in address. Note absence of the article with
\Thessalonikeōn\ because a proper name and so definite without
it. This is the common use of \ekklēsia\ for a local body
(church). The word originally meant "assembly" as in Ac 19:39,
but it came to mean an organization for worship whether assembled
or unassembled (cf. Ac 8:3). The only superscription in the
oldest Greek manuscripts (Aleph B A) is \Pros Thessalonikeis A\
({To the Thessalonians First}). But probably Paul wrote no
superscription and certainly he would not write A to it before he
had written II Thessalonians (B). His signature at the close was
the proof of genuineness (2Th 3:17) against all spurious
claimants (2Th 2:2). Unfortunately the brittle papyrus on which
he wrote easily perished outside of the sand heaps and tombs of
Egypt or the lava covered ruins of Herculaneum. What a treasure
that autograph would be! {In God the Father and the Lord Jesus
(\en theōi patri kai kuriōi Jēsou Christōi\). This church
is grounded in (\en\, with the locative case) and exists in the
sphere and power of {God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ}.
No article in the Greek, for both \theōi patri\ and \kuriōi Jēsou
Christōi\ are treated as proper names. In the very beginning of
this first Epistle of Paul we meet his Christology. He at once
uses the full title, "Lord Jesus Christ," with all the
theological content of each word. The name "Jesus" (Saviour, Mt
he knew, as the "Jesus of history," the personal name of
the Man of Galilee, whom he had once persecuted (Ac 9:5), but
whom he at once, after his conversion, proclaimed to be "the
Messiah," (\ho Christos\, Ac 9:22). This position Paul never
changed. In the great sermon at Antioch in Pisidia which Luke has
preserved (Ac 13:23) Paul proved that God fulfilled his promise
to Israel by raising up "Jesus as Saviour" (\sōtēra Iēsoun\). Now
Paul follows the Christian custom by adding \Christos\ (verbal
from \chriō\, to anoint)
as a proper name to Jesus (Jesus Christ)
as later he will often say "Christ Jesus" (Col 1:1). And he
dares also to apply \kurios\ (Lord) to "Jesus Christ," the word
appropriated by Claudius (_Dominus_, \Kurios\) and other emperors
in the emperor-worship, and also common in the Septuagint for God
as in Ps 32:1f. (quoted by Paul in Ro 4:8). Paul uses
\Kurios\ of God (1Co 3:5) or of Jesus Christ as here. In fact,
he more frequently applies it to Christ when not quoting the Old
Testament as in Ro 4:8. And here he places "the Lord Jesus
Christ" in the same category and on the same plane with "God the
father." There will be growth in Paul's Christology and he will
never attain all the knowledge of Christ for which he longs (Php
, but it is patent that here in his first Epistle there
is no "reduced Christ" for Paul. He took Jesus as "Lord" when he
surrendered to Jesus on the Damascus Road: "And I said, What
shall I do, Lord? And the Lord said to me" (Ac 22:10). It is
impossible to understand Paul without seeing clearly this first
and final stand for the Lord Jesus Christ. Paul did not get this
view of Jesus from current views of Mithra or of Isis or any
other alien faith. The Risen Christ became at once for Paul the
Lord of his life. {Grace to you and peace} (\charis humin kai
. These words, common in Paul's Epistles, bear "the stamp
of Paul's experience" (Milligan). They are not commonplace
salutations, but the old words "deepened and spiritualised"
(Frame). The infinitive (\chairein\) so common in the papyri
letters and seen in the New Testament also (Ac 15:23; 23:26; Jas
here gives place to \charis\, one of the great words of the
New Testament (cf. Joh 1:16f.) and particularly of the Pauline
Epistles. Perhaps no one word carries more meaning for Paul's
messages than this word \charis\ (from \chairō\, rejoice) from
which \charizomai\ comes. {Peace} (\eirēnē\) is more than the
Hebrew _shalōm_ so common in salutations. One recalls the "peace"
that Christ leaves to us (Joh 14:27) and the peace of God that
passes all understanding (Php 4:7). This introduction is brief,
but rich and gracious and pitches the letter at once on a high

1:2 {We give thanks} (\eucharistoumen\). Late denominative verb
\eucharisteō\ from \eucharistos\ (grateful) and that from \eu\,
well and \charizomai\, to show oneself kind. See \charis\ in
verse 1. "The plural implies that all three missionaries prayed
together" (Moffatt). {Always} (\pantote\). Late word, rare in
LXX. So with \eucharisteō\ in 2Th 1:3; 2:13; 1Co 1:4; Eph 5:20;
Php 1:3. Moffatt takes it to mean "whenever Paul was at his
prayers." Of course, he did not make audible prayer always, but
he was always in the spirit of prayer, "a constant attitude"
(Milligan), "in tune with the Infinite." {For you all} (\peri
pantōn humōn\)
. Paul "encircled (\peri\, around) them all,"
including every one of them and the church as a whole. Distance
lends enchantment to the memory of slight drawbacks. Paul is fond
of this phrase "you all," particularly in Phil. (Php 1:3,7).
{Making mention} (\mneian poioumenoi\). Paul uses this very idiom
in Rom 1:9; Eph 1:16; Phm 1:4. Milligan cites a papyrus example
of \mneian poioumenoi\ in prayer (B. Y. U. 652, 5). Did Paul have
a prayer list of the Thessalonian disciples which he read over
with Silas and Timothy? {In} here is \epi=\"in the time of our
prayers." "Each time that they are engaged in prayers the writers
mention the names of the converts" (Frame).

1:3 {Remembering} (\mnēmoneuontes\). Present active participle of
old verb from adjective \mnēmōn\ (mindful) and so to call to
mind, to be mindful of, used either with the accusative as in
1Th 2:9 or the genitive as here. {Without ceasing}
(\adialeiptōs\). Double compound adverb of the _Koinē_ (Polybius,
Diodorus, Strabo, papyri)
from the verbal adjective
\a-dia-leiptos\ (\a\ privative and \dia-leipō\, to leave off). In
the N.T. alone by Paul and always connected with prayer. Milligan
prefers to connect this adverb (amphibolous in position) with the
preceding participle \poioumenoi\ rather than with
\mnēmoneuontes\ as Revised Version and Westcott and Hort rightly
do. {Your work of faith} (\humōn tou ergou tēs pisteōs\). Note
article with both \ergou\ and \pisteōs\ (correlation of the
article, both abstract substantives)
. \Ergou\ is genitive case
the object of \mnēmoneuontes\ as is common with verbs of emotion
(Robertson, _Grammar_, pp. 508f.), though the accusative \kopon\
occurs in 1Th 2:9 according to common Greek idiom allowing
either case. \Ergou\ is the general term for work or business,
employment, task. Note two genitives with \ergou\. \Humōn\ is the
usual possessive genitive, {your work}, while \tēs pisteōs\ is
the descriptive genitive, marked by, characterized by, faith,
"the activity that faith inspires" (Frame). It is interesting to
note this sharp conjunction of these two words by Paul. We are
justified by faith, but faith produces works (Ro 6-8) as the
Baptist taught and as Jesus taught and as James does in Jas 2.
{Labour of love} (\tou kopou tēs agapēs\). Note article with both
substantives. Here again \tou kopou\ is the genitive the object
of \mnēmoneuontes\ while \tēs agapēs\ is the descriptive genitive
characterizing the "labour" or "toil" more exactly. \Kopos\ is
from \koptō\, to cut, to lash, to beat the bread, to toil. In Re
14:13 the distinction is drawn between \kopou\ (toil) from which
the saints rest and \erga\ (works, activities) which follow with
them into heaven. So here it is the labour that love prompts,
assuming gladly the toil. \Agapē\ is one of the great words of
the N.T. (Milligan) and no certain example has yet been found in
the early papyri or the inscriptions. It occurs in the Septuagint
in the higher sense as with the sensuous associations. The
Epistle of Aristeas calls love (\agapē\) God's gift and Philo
uses \agapē\ in describing love for God. "When Christianity first
began to think and speak in Greek, it took up \agapē\ and its
group of terms more freely, investing them with the new glow with
which the N.T. writings make us familiar, a content which is
invariably religious" (Moffatt, _Love in the New Testament_, p.
. The New Testament never uses the word \erōs\ (lust).
{Patience of hope} (\tēs hupomonēs tēs elpidos\). Note the two
articles again and the descriptive genitive \tēs elpidos\. It is
patience marked by hope, "the endurance inspired by hope"
(Frame), yes, and sustained by hope in spite of delays and
set-backs. \Hupomonē\ is an old word (\hupo, menō\, to remain
, but it "has come like \agapē\ to be closely associated
with a distinctively Christian virtue" (Milligan). The same order
as here (\ergou, kopos, hupomonē\) appears in Re 2:2 and
Lightfoot considers it" an ascending scale as practical proofs of
self-sacrifice." The church in Thessalonica was not old, but
already they were called upon to exercise the sanctifying grace
of hope (Denney). {In our Lord Jesus Christ} (\tou Kuriou hēmōn
Iēsou Christou\)
. The objective genitive with \elpidos\ (hope)
and so translated by "in" here (Robertson, _Grammar_, pp. 499f.).
Jesus is the object of this hope, the hope of his second coming
which is still open to us. Note "Lord Jesus Christ" as in verse
1. {Before our God and Father} (\emprosthen tou theou kai
patros hēmōn\)
. The one article with both substantives precisely
as in Ga 1:4, not "before God and our Father," both article and
possessive genitive going with both substantives as in 2Pe
1:1,11; Tit 2:13 (Robertson, _Grammar_, pp. 785f.). The phrase
is probably connected with \elpidos\. \Emprosthen\ in the N.T.
occurs only of place, but it is common in the papyri of time. The
picture here is the day of judgment when all shall appear before

1:4 {Knowing} (\eidotes\). Second perfect active participle of
\oida\ (\eidon\), a so-called causal participle=since we know,
the third participle with the principal verb \eucharistoumen\,
the Greek being fond of the circumstantial participle and
lengthening sentences thereby (Robertson, _Grammar_, P. 1128).
{Beloved by God} (\ēgapēmenoi hupo [tou] theou\). Perfect passive
participle of \agapaō\, the verb so common in the N.T. for the
highest kind of love. Paul is not content with the use of
\adelphoi\ here (often in this Epistle as 2:1,14,17; 3:7;
, but adds this affectionate phrase nowhere else in the
N.T. in this form (cf. Jude 1:3) though in Sirach 45:1 and on
the Rosetta Stone. But in 2Th 2:13 he quotes "beloved by the
Lord" from De 33:12. The use of \adelphoi\ for members of the
same brotherhood can be derived from the Jewish custom (Ac
and the habit of Jesus (Mt 12:48) and is amply
illustrated in the papyri for burial clubs and other orders and
guilds (Moulton and Milligan's _Vocabulary_). {Your election}
(\tēn eklogēn humōn\). That is the election of you by God. It is
an old word from \eklegomai\ used by Jesus of his choice of the
twelve disciples (Joh 15:16) and by Paul of God's eternal
selection (Eph 1:4). The word \eklogē\ is not in the LXX and
only seven times in the N.T. and always of God's choice of men
(Ac 9:15; 1Th 1:4; Ro 9:11; 11:5,7,58; 2Pe 1:10). The divine
\eklogē\ was manifested in the Christian qualities of verse 3

1:5 {How that} (\hoti\). It is not certain whether \hoti\ here
means "because" (\quia\) as in 2Th 3:7; 1Co 2:14; Ro 8:27 or
declarative \hoti\ "how that," knowing the circumstances of your
election (Lightfoot) or explanatory, as in Ac 16:3; 1Th 2:1; 1Co
16:15; 2Co 12:3f.; Ro 13:11. {Our gospel} (\to euaggelion
. The gospel (see on ¯Mt 4:23; Mr 1:1,15 for
which we preach, Paul's phrase also in 2Th 2:14;
2Co 4:3; Ro 2:16; 16:25; 2Ti 2:8. Paul had a definite, clear-cut
message of grace that he preached everywhere including
Thessalonica. This message is to be interpreted in the light of
Paul's own sermons in Acts and Epistles, not by reading backward
into them the later perversions of Gnostics and sacramentarians.
This very word was later applied to the books about Jesus, but
Paul is not so using the term here or anywhere else. In its
origin Paul's gospel is of God (1Th 2:2,8,9), in its substance
it is Christ's (3:2; 2Th 1:8), and Paul is only the bearer of
it (1Th 2:4,9; 2Th 2:14) as Milligan points out. Paul and his
associates have been entrusted with this gospel (1Th 2:4) and
preach it (Ga 2:2). Elsewhere Paul calls it God's gospel (2Co
11:7; Ro 1:1; 15:16)
or Christs (1Co 9:12; 2Co 2:12; 9:13;
10:14; Ga 1:7; Ro 15:19; Php 1:27)
. In both instances it is the
subjective genitive. {Came unto you} (\egenēthē eis humās\).
First aorist passive indicative of \ginomai\ in practically same
sense as \egeneto\ (second aorist middle indicative as in the
late Greek generally)
. So also \eis humās\ like the _Koinē_ is
little more than the dative \humin\ (Robertson, _Grammar_, p.
. {Not only--but also} (\ouk--monon, alla kai\). Sharp
contrast, negatively and positively. The contrast between \logos\
(word) and \dunamis\ (power) is seen also in 1Co 2:4; 4:20.
Paul does not refer to miracles by \dunamis\. {In the Holy Spirit
and much assurance}
(\en pneumati hagiōi kai plērophoriāi
. Preposition \en\ repeated with \logōi, dunamei\, but
only once here thus uniting closely {Holy Spirit} and {much
. No article with either word. The word \plērophoriāi\
is not found in ancient Greek or the LXX. It appears once in
Clement of Rome and one broken papyrus example. For the verb
\plērophoreō\ see on ¯Lu 1:1. The substantive in the N.T. only
here and Col 2:2; Heb 6:11; 10:22. It means the full confidence
which comes from the Holy Spirit. {Even as ye know} (\kathōs
. Paul appeals to the Thessalonians themselves as
witnesses to the character of his preaching and life among them.
{What manner of men we showed ourselves toward you} (\hoioi
egenēthēmen humin\)
. Literally, {What sort of men we became to
. Qualitative relative \hoioi\ and dative \humin\ and first
aorist passive indicative \egenēthēmen\, (not \ēmetha\, we were).
An epexegetical comment with {for your sake} (\di' humās\) added.
It was all in their interest and for their advantage, however it
may have seemed otherwise at the time.

1:6 {Imitators of us and of the Lord} (\mimētai hēmōn kai tou
. \Mimētēs\ (\-tēs\ expresses the agent) is from
\mimeomai\, to imitate and that from \mimos\ (\mimic\, actor).
Old word, more than "followers," in the N.T. only six times (1Th
1:6; 2:14; 1Co 4:16; 11:1; Eph 5:1; Heb 6:12)
. Again Paul uses
\ginomai\, to become, not \eimi\, to be. It is a daring thing to
expect people to "imitate" the preacher, but Paul adds "and of
the Lord," for he only expected or desired "imitation" as he
himself imitated the Lord Jesus, as he expressly says in 1Co
11:1. The peril of it all is that people so easily and so
readily imitate the preacher when he does not imitate the Lord.
The fact of the "election" of the Thessalonians was shown by the
character of the message given them and by this sincere
acceptance of it (Lightfoot). {Having received the word}
(\dexamenoi ton logon\). First aorist middle participle of
\dechomai\, probably simultaneous action (receiving), not
antecedent. {In much affliction} (\en thlipsei pollēi\). Late
word, pressure. Tribulation (Latin _tribulum_) from \thlibō\, to
press hard on. Christianity has glorified this word. It occurs in
some Christian papyrus letters in this same sense. Runs all
through the N.T. (2Th 1:4; Ro 5:3). Paul had his share of them
(Col 1:24; 2Co 2:4) and so he understands how to sympathize
with the Thessalonians (1Th 3:3f.). They suffered after Paul
left Thessalonica (1Th 2:14). {With joy of the Holy Spirit}
(\meta charas pneumatos hagiou\). The Holy Spirit gives the joy
in the midst of the tribulations as Paul learned (Ro 5:3).
"This paradox of experience" (Moffatt) shines along the pathway
of martyrs and saints of Christ.

1:7 {So that ye became} (\hōste genesthai humas\). Definite
result expressed by \hōste\ and the infinitive \genesthai\
(second aorist middle of \ginomai\) as is common in the _Koinē_.
{An ensample} (\tupon\). So B D, but Aleph A C have \tupous\
(plural). The singular looks at the church as a whole, the plural
as individuals like \humās\. \Tupos\ is an old word from \tuptō\,
to strike, and so the mark of a blow, print as in John 20:25.
Then the figure formed by the blow, image as in Ac 7:43. Then
the mould or form (Ro 6:17; Ac 23:25). Then an example or
pattern as in Ac 7:44, to be imitated as here, Php 3:17, etc.
It was a great compliment for the church in Thessalonica to be
already a model for believers in Macedonia and Achaia. Our word
_type_ for printers is this same word with one of its meanings.
Note separate article with both Macedonia (\tēi Makedoniāi\) and
Achaia (\tēi Achaiāi\) treated as separate provinces as they

1:8 {From you hath sounded forth} (\aph' humōn exēchētai\).
Perfect passive indicative of \exēcheō\, late compound verb (\ex,
ēchos, ēchō, ēchē\, our echo)
to sound out of a trumpet or of
thunder, to reverberate like our echo. Nowhere else in the N.T.
So "from you" as a sounding board or radio transmitting station
(to use a modern figure). It marks forcibly "both the clear and
the persuasive nature of the \logos tou Kuriou\" (Ellicott). This
phrase, the word of the Lord, may be subjective with the Lord as
its author or objective with the Lord as the object. It is both.
It is a graphic picture with a pardonable touch of hyperbole
(Moffatt) for Thessalonica was a great commercial and political
centre for disseminating the news of salvation (on the Egnation
. {But in every place} (\all' en panti topōi\). In contrast
to Macedonia and Achaia. The sentence would naturally stop here,
but Paul is dictating rapidly and earnestly and goes on. {Your
faith to God-ward}
(\hē pistis humōn hē pros ton theon\).
Literally, {the faith of you that toward the God}. The repeated
article makes clear that their faith is now directed toward the
true God and not toward the idols from which they had turned
(verse 10). {Is gone forth} (\exelēluthen\). Second perfect
active indicative of old verb \exerchomai\, to go out, state of
completion like \exēchētai\ above. {So that we need not to speak
(\hōste mē chreian echein hēmās lalein ti\). \Hōste\
with the infinitive for actual result as in verse 7. No vital
distinction between \lalein\ (originally to chatter as of birds)
and \legein\, both being used in the _Koinē_ for speaking and
preaching (in the N.T.).

1:9 {They themselves} (\autoi\). The men of Macedonia,
voluntarily. {Report} (\apaggellousin\). Linear present active
indicative, keep on reporting. {What manner of entering in}
(\hopoian eisodon\). What sort of entrance, qualitative relative
in an indirect question. {We had} (\eschomen\). Second aorist
active (ingressive) indicative of the common verb \echō\. {And
(\kai pōs\). Here the interrogative adverb \pōs\ in this
part of the indirect question. This part about "them" (you) as
the first part about Paul. The verb \epistrephō\ is an old verb
for turning and is common in the Acts for Gentiles turning to
God, as here from idols, though not by Paul again in this sense.
In Ga 4:9 Paul uses it for turning to the weak and beggarly
elements of Judaism. {From idols} (\apo tōn eidolōn\). Old word
from \eidos\ (figure) for image or likeness and then for the
image of a heathen god (our _idol_). Common in the LXX in this
sense. In Ac 14:15 Paul at Lystra urged the people {to turn
from these vain things to the living God}
(\apo toutōn tōn
mataiōn epistrephein epi theon zōnta\)
, using the same verb
\epistrephein\. Here also Paul has a like idea, {to serve a
living and true God}
(\douleuein theōi zōnti kai alēthinōi\). No
article, it is true, but should be translated "the living and
true God" (cf. Ac 14:15). Not "dead" like the idols from which
they turned, but alive and genuine (\alēthinos\, not \alēthēs\).

1:10 {To wait for his Son from heaven} (\anamenein ton huion
autou ek tōn ouranōn\)
. Present infinitive, like \douleuein\, and
so linear, to keep on waiting for. The hope of the second coming
of Christ was real and powerful with Paul as it should be with
us. It was subject to abuse then as now as Paul will have to show
in this very letter. He alludes to this hope at the close of each
chapter in this Epistle. {Whom he raised from the dead} (\hon
ēgeiren ek [tōn] nekrōn\)
. Paul gloried in the fact of the
resurrection of Jesus from the dead of which fact he was himself
a personal witness. This fact is the foundation stone for all his
theology and it comes out in this first chapter. {Jesus which
delivereth us from the wrath to come}
(\Iēsoun ton ruomenon hēmās
ek tēs orgēs tēs erchomenēs\)
. It is the historic, crucified,
risen, and ascended Jesus Christ, God's Son, who delivers from
the coming wrath. He is our Saviour (Mt 1:21) true to his name
Jesus. He is our Rescuer (Ro 11:26, \ho ruomenos\, from Isa
. It is eschatological language, this coming wrath of God
for sin (1Th 2:16; Ro 3:5; 5:9; 9:22; 13:5). It was Paul's
allusion to the day of judgment with Jesus as Judge whom God had
raised from the dead that made the Athenians mock and leave him
(Ac 17:31f.). But Paul did not change his belief or his
preaching because of the conduct of the Athenians. He is certain
that God's wrath in due time will punish sin. Surely this is a
needed lesson for our day. It was coming then and it is coming

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Word Pictures in the New Testament
(1 Thessalonians: Chapter 1)